by Phil Corless
The Denali Backcountry Lodge puts you deep in the heart of the magnificent Denali National Park. The best way to reach the park is by train from either Anchorage or Fairbanks. Once you reach the Denali Park Train Depot, a shuttle bus will take you the rest of the way to the lodge, because private cars are not allowed very far into the park. You’ll stay in one of 42 spacious creekside cabins, most of which have two double beds and are perfect for a family of four. Amenities are minimal here, but the rooms are clean and comfortable. There are screened-in gazebos around the property, where guests can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
As an all-inclusive lodge, all of your meals and activities are free. The two-story Main Lodge houses dining and lounge areas, as well as a gift shop and spa. Kids will love the game room, stocked with board games, puzzles and books about Alaska. It’s easy to sign up for daily guided hikes, which range from easy to challenging, and fun activities like gold panning, yoga and fishing in the creek that runs through the property. There are also bikes available to rent. With its secluded location inside the national park, and a family-friendly range of activities to choose from, the Denali Backcountry Lodge is one of the best ways to experience the Alaskan wilderness with your family.
Our Editor Loves
- Wildlife hikes
- Moose Creek fishing
- Family-style meals
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Beautiful place!!! Our cabin was modern, clean, spacious, and had a great view of the river. The staff were helpful and offered guided tours of Denali National Park at no extra charge. There was a free shuttle service for photo oppertunities, and on the way in and out (6 hour bus trip each way) we saw black bears, grizzly bears, caribou, elk, Dall sheep, mountain goats, and moose--with a huge bull moose comming right up to our bus! We also had great views of Mt. Denali unter clear skies. The bus trip is a little long, but there ane several stops, and the bus will stop for wildlife sightings and particularly nice views. So time on the bus goes quickly. Meals are together in the lodge building and are excellent! Only down side--it is expensive!!!
There are many wonderful things to relate about the Denali Backcountry Lodge--Dinners were good and nicely served, the naturalists/guides were top-notch in both education, teaching ability and personality, the bus drivers to take you the 82 miles to the lodge from the Park entrance are well versed in natural history, and careful to enforce that guests observe all rules regarding wildlife, and the timing of all the activities runs very smoothly.
There are only perhaps 4 places one can stay within the Park, and the remoteness requires extraordinary measures to provide services. There was a generator for the electricity, and this is the only lodging with toilets and showers ensuite. Despite that, I am still astonished at the price--we paid over $1400/per night for 2 persons with full board. I know we were remote and conditions are difficult, but I was a bit surprised to find our accommodations were actually small cabins next to each other along a boardwalk. There were a few cabins with a river view, but most of us had a view of the cabin next to us and just 12' across the boardwalk. Know that you are paying for the location in the park, not the level of accommodation. Furnishings and linens were adequate but in line with a remote hunting camp. I am not comfortable with the cost/value equation. So glad we went and could stay a while, but would not do this more than once.